She was sitting on an adjacent table, shadowed and protected, under the large parasol, drinking from a white cup.
I couldn’t tell what it was she was delicately sipping, nor could I tell what she was thinking, as her eyes where hidden behind large, chocolate-orange coloured framed sunglasses.
So there I was, on the pavement of Rome, watching the hectic world flow by and around me, drinking rapidly warming water, oddly mesmerised by one woman, and she was partially hidden in shadow and behind large-framed shades.
I picked up my condensation drenched glass to take a sip. Her slender left hand delicately mirrored mine and lifted her cup to her shiny, lip-glossed lips.
It felt like chemistry was playing a game.
It was shooting hormones from one stranger to another to see the outcome. They, the hormones, knew nothing could come of it. I, one of the strangers, also knew that.
It wasn’t cheating, because I wasn’t sexually aroused.
I was intrigued by her presence. And besides it was the hormones testing us.
Or maybe just me and my imagination.
She seemed oddly dislocated from the whole experiment.
But maybe she wasn’t.
She had lowered her sunglasses and seemed to be peeking over the top in my direction.
Should I smile back?
The phone in my jacket pocket kicked into life, startling me.
I fished inside and cursed silently. The damned thing had found the hole at the back of the pocket and had slid into the lining.
I fished around for a moment, feeling the vibration and the annoying ringtone that I had wanted to change, but had never bothered, since buying the bloody nuisance a year ago.
By the time my inept, sausage-like fingers had retrieved it the phone had rung off.
And, more annoying, the lady had gone.